I love Florida! So between my travels from Philadelphia and Boston this past fall, I did get a chance to shimmy down back to Florida for a quick dip in the Gulf of Mexico. I had been to Florida before to do the entire amusement park circuit and enjoyed my time immensely, so to return and check out the Gulf was pretty exciting. With flights to Orlando and other areas in Florida being fairly reasonable, it makes for an easy get away. And because of the weather, Orlando, Florida and the surrounding areas have a fantastic climate all year round! Whether you’re going with your family, your friends, your lover or yourself (which is what I did), Florida is a good time all around with plenty of activities for all interests. Here are five incredibly fun activities to enjoy when you visit Florida.
1.) Walt Disney World and Universal Studios
Naturally, when most people think of Orlando, Florida, they think of Disney and Universal Studios. These are absolutely the best amusement parks in the world. That’s right Europa Park – Disney has you beat. When I visited these amusement parks I kept thinking to myself “they tried way too hard – they put way too much thought into this place”. And they have. For instance, Disney employs a team of “Imagineers” to concoct outlandish adventures that take us out of our own reality and make us believe that, yes, these pirates on this “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride are completely legit and yes, it is completely possible for Cinderella to live in this gigantic castle that conveniently has a gift shop in its center.
My personal favorite: Epcot Center. You might be thinking, “why would you like Epcot over everything else”? I say unto you, I’m a traveler. Epcot Center is the best because I get to see the entire world in one day. You know what else I get to see? Fat people trying to maneuver Segways. Epcot Center is good fun all around.
2.) Beaches, EVERYWHERE!
On my last jaunt to Florida, I was only there for a day. But that was just enough to fall in love with its beaches all over again. Even though it was late September, I was still able to enjoy the warm sun and the warm, clean water of the Gulf. Coming from New Jersey, I’m used to hot summer days with frigid cold water that is not the cleanest. We’re talking the New Jersey Shore – ever see that show? Anyway, nothing was more refreshing that being able to go swimming in late September!
3.) Delicious Eats
With dreamlike amusement parks and beaches comes dreamlike meals. Imaginative chefs throughout the state take advantage of their location and create seafood dishes that will blow your mind, and thanks to minimal shipping of quality fish, prices aren’t high at all. Enjoy fresh shrimp cocktails, huge lumps of crab meat and inventive fish dishes at restaurants throughout the region.
During my last visit, I went to AZN in Naples, Florida. You might think it was just a chinese food restaurant, but with a fusion menu and the ambience of a night club it was so much more. I think my favorite thing on the menu was the plum wine. It wasn’t tart, just fruity and refreshing!
4.) Historic Sites
Florida has an eclectic culture of Spanish Conquistadors, French adventurers, and British and American pioneers. If you’re a history nerd like I am, you’ll love Florida’s historic forts. Sprinkled throughout the state, tourists can find astonishing structures left behind from Spanish explorers and Civil War soldiers. Enjoy sites like the Castillo de San Marcos build by the Spanish in 1672 or even Fort Jackson, a massive structure built during the Civil War.
5.) Enjoying Florida’s Nature
From the Everglades to the botanical gardens, Florida has plenty of parks and nature preserves. There are tons of tours where you can explore Florida by boat, all terrain vehicles and hiking. But one of the coolest tours around has to be the caves at the Florida State Caverns. It brings new meaning to the sport of “spelunking“. Explore dazzling displays of natural limestone creating stalactites, stalagmites and soda straw formations. The Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida offers the only cave tour in the state. They also give visitors the opportunity to play 9 holes of golf, fishing and canoeing in their rivers and lakes as well as a gorgeous natural landscape for all nature lovers to enjoy.